Lifestyle & Human Interest

Puppy Chews Sleeping Owner's Toe Down to the Bone, May Have Saved His Life: 'He's Done Me a Favor'


Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that puppies are incredibly destructive. As they work their way into doghood, the learning curve includes messing on the floor, crying at night and, of course, chewing on things.

Those things don’t usually include human appendages — but one bulldog puppy named Harley from England decided his master’s big toe was a suitable chew toy.

The strangest part? Owner David Lindsay isn’t even mad about it. Quite the opposite, in fact: He’s treating naughty little Harley like a hero.

Lindsay, 64, is a father of five and grandfather of 11. He’s enjoying retirement after working as a builder, but he suffers from diabetes.

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One day, he fell asleep on the couch only to be roused from slumber by his wife screaming.

At first, he didn’t know what was going on, but then he glanced down at his bloody foot.

“My puppy had near enough chewed my big toe off! It chewed down to the bone and cracked it,” he said, according to the Mirror.

“But because of all this, I discovered that my foot is completely numb. I can’t feel anything.”

Lindsay was rushed to the hospital, where for nine days he was treated for an infection.

But CT scans of the broken toe revealed a much more concerning issue: Lindsay had two blocked arteries in that leg, which had caused him to lose feeling without noticing.

If the blockages had continued to go undetected, Lindsay could have ended up losing his leg. Now, he’s waiting to see if he can get stents placed to aid circulation.

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Despite the ordeal, Lindsay is grateful for Harley and has a good sense of humor about the whole thing.

“You’ve got to laugh about it,” Lindsay said. “He’s done me a favor by chewing my toe.”

“I’ll be keeping the dog. I’ll try to keep my toe too, but if not I told the doctor to cut it off and I can take it home for him!”

Harley isn’t the only pup to have done something like this, either. A dog from Michigan named Kiko ate his owner’s big toe back in 2010, saving his life in a roundabout way.

Owner Jerry Douthett had been struggling with an infected toe. He refused to go to a doctor, so he never found out that he had diabetes.

One night, after having a few too many drinks, he fell asleep and woke up to a missing big toe and his dog’s face covered in blood.

When he went to the emergency room for treatment, “they also found out that he was diabetic,” wife Rosee Douthett said, according to KDVR-TV.

“His [blood] sugar was in the 800 that night, so it was like if it wasn’t treated, it could be fatal for him, going into septic mode. They heralded Kiko as a hero because if he didn’t do that, he would never go to the hospital or … [have] discovered he was diabetic.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking